potpourri

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It’s the end where I begin

on July 12, 2017

Maybe you’ll recognize the song where my title came from. Yes, it’s the end where I begin, because every beginning is something else’s end. Sorry for the long post but this is my story.

Last Friday, June 23, 2017, a chapter of my life ended. I graduated from my Masters degree program. Yey! As I attended the morning meeting with my family, classmates and mentors/ tormentors, I remembered the past three and a half years of adventures and roadblocks I have come to surpass. This is it! Another chance to show people that everyone can actually achieve their dreams.

 

Naturally, I wouldn’t have done this alone. My family has always been there for me, letting me live the life I wanted to have. They did not judge me, or demand from me, as I was taking the journey towards achieving greater knowledge. As supportive as my family was, there were inescapable losses that accompanied the elation I was feeling. Let me tell you now a story of a simpleton who braved her way through rough waters for the love of achieving her dream.

It all started in 2013, when one of my co-workers in the manufacturing firm I was working at enticed me to apply for the Masters of Management (MM) program. I have been fantasizing for quite a while back then how I can pursue a higher degree, since I have been involved in business development where I have no background or proper experience. I’m a Biochemist after all. I talk to chemicals, glassware and laboratory equipment. I am not used to talking with humans, let alone planning for the operations of a manufacturing company. I was browsing through several graduate degree programs when my friend asked me to attend the MM Summer Program.

And so it all began. I was astounded as to the breadth and depth of knowledge I have never known before. I admit to being a sapiosexual. I love learning through reading and watching documentaries. I rarely talk to humans to gain their insight. And that is what I wanted to improve in myself. The Summer Program lasted about 2 months. Me and my friend had to leave work every Saturday at 6AM to attend the 8AM program. The learnings and exercises we did is the very tip of a very wide and deep iceberg, which is what we were about to experience after the Summer Program. Sadly, my friend did not pursue the formal classes since she had to move to the US. I felt like I was alone back then, but since I loved being alone, I didn’t mind.

Classes for the first 2 1/2 years was every Saturday. I had to forgo of my work schedule every Saturday and ask for a compressed schedule every Monday to Friday to compensate for the hours I will not be able to attend work. Every Saturday, I had to leave at 6AM to come at 8AM at school. Then classes would end at 5PM. After class activities sometimes go on as late as 9PM, of which I reach my rented home at 11PM. Sundays were spent watching Youtube videos of how financial statements work, how to solve that management case, creating marketing plans, knowing how to handle human behavior conflicts in the workplace, calculating how many counters must a bank have to accommodate all customers, scheduling production personnel, planning shipment deliveries and stock management, reading up on the latest world news, and digging up historical data on companies for the basis of a management decision.

The hardest part came to me when I was in my 3rd year. I had to quit my job altogether, and take up a teaching job at a university. My manufacturing job asked me to be a consultant two days a week in San Pedro Laguna, while I was working as a part-time Instructor at a University in Malabon, Metro Manila three days a week. It was a 3 hour ride from manufacturing to teaching…which I endured for 3 months. I had to eventually give up my manufacturing job and focus on teaching due to the distance. After 3 months, I also had to give up my teaching load due to the workload at school. I went jobless, tired and broke from too much work. I never thought for once that I would be jobless ever. So there…I was just a student for a month.

Come January 2016, a former colleague offered me a part time job as a Chemist for her chemical importation business. Coincidentally, my class was every Friday night and Saturday morning. My new boss agreed to a two-day work week for me. Isn’t she the greatest? So my strategy was, work from Monday to Thursday (I had another part-time job every Wednesday and Friday), school every Friday and Saturday.

I had to leave my house in QC at around 9AM every Friday. I arrive at school around 3PM, class starts at 4 and ends at 7. I arrive at my friend’s boarding house around 9 to 10PM. The following day I leave at 6AM and arrive at school by 8AM. Class again from 8 to 10. Then I go back to QC. This routine passed on for 6 months. It was excruciatingly tiresome, sometimes unbearable for me. But I endured…with the help of the people who chose to stay with me I made it. Some people chose to leave, but I thank them still for coming along.

Now it’s the end of the 6 hour rides for that 3 hour class. The end of sleeping on the bus to stay awake all night. It’s the start of another chapter, one I did not see coming. As my professor always said, the lessons are not supposed to be applicable at all times, but all the time we can look back to the life lessons we learned inside and outside the classroom and pick one to apply to the situation we are in at the  moment. It’s like a tool box. You don’t use all the tools at the same time. But anytime, you can choose which tool to use to make your situation work. Everyone can achieve their dreams if you can end something for a new beginning.

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